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Robert Maxham
Fanfare, November 2009

Keith Anderson’s notes to Augustin Hadelich’s release of Telemann’s 12 Fantasies for Solo Violin suggest that the composer wrote these brief works with amateurs and students in mind. Be that as it may, Augustin Hadelich, winner of the 2006 International Violin Competition, makes a case for them as brilliant showpieces, featuring a kind of fluent virtuosity very different from the more crabbed difficulties that stud Bach’s slightly earlier solo works. The first movements of the First Fantasie, in B♭ Major, encapsulate Hadelich’s general approach to the fantasies: finely tuned sensitivity to dynamic nuance in the opening Largo and almost runaway virtuosity in the ensuing Allegro, with swirling figuration separating patterned, stepwise melodic progressions in the first notes of each group. Hadelich takes care to articulate the moving lines so that Telemann’s underlying patterns become immediately intelligible. Even if, therefore, the fantasies make few strenuous demands on the performer (as few, in fact, as they may on the listener), still, in performances like these, they sound thoroughly engaging, impressively idiomatic, and dashingly brilliant, even when heard seriatim. Hadelich reproduces the gestures that characterize these fantasies as boldly as their style will permit, explicating the rhetorical flair with which Telemann endowed them (perhaps in lieu of contrapuntal complexity). The works remain interesting in the sensitive slow movements, the moderately paced gestural ones, and even in movements like the phosphorescent middle one of the 12th…Naxos’s engineers have captured their artist in the reverberant ambiance of St John Chrysostom Church in Newmarket, Canada…Enthusiastically recommended.

Elaine Fine
American Record Guide, July 2009

Hadelich’s Telemann is brilliant, intelligent, historically informed, and definitely modern. He offers these pieces as works of serious musical substance, shattering the long held prejudice that Telemann must have been a second-rate composer because he wrote so much music that is playable by people with an amateur’s level of technique.

Telemann, who wrote these Fantasies in 1735, reached southward towards Italy for some of his influences. There are movements in these pieces that sound a lot like Corelli, particularly the Gigue of the Fourth Fantasy, which gives the solo violin its own accompanying bass line. Many movements of these pieces are written in a German rhetorical style, some use what sounds like a lot of counterpoint, and some exploit the violin’s virtuosic qualities. No two are alike, though parts of some sound a bit like Telemann’s 12 Fantasies for solo flute that were written a couple of years earlier.

These pieces have obviously not enjoyed the place in the solo violin literature held by Bach, but they do offer a really attractive alternative to Bach. I ordered the sheet music immediately after my first hearing of this recording. I hope it arrives soon.

Perhaps Hadelich’s background as a German- speaking person growing up in Italy adds to his deep understanding of the German-Italian nature of these pieces. It is a pleasure to listen to this wonderful music and stunningly beautiful violin playing again and again.

James Manishen
Winnipeg Free Press, May 2009

Georg Philipp Telemann was J.S. Bach’s senior by four years and outlived him by 17 years. As well, Telemann was actually more famous during the time, and while these Fantasies may not approach the depths of invention found in Bach’s solo violin works, Telemann’s music provides a highly refreshing and engaging listen nonetheless.

Fugal textures are just hinted at with the style here more Italian and recalling Corelli most of all. Each Fantasy is three or four movements, with a slow centrepiece and flanking movements of rich variety. The range of states explored is often surprising, with violin resources extensively covered as Corelli also showed in his Sonatas, Op. 5.

Adding to this winner are the performances of the young Italian violinist and 2006 Indianapolis International Competition winner Augustin Hadelich, who invests everything with seasoned elegance and complete security. Lovely recording, too, in this delightful release.

Kevin Sutton
MusicWeb International, May 2009

At times tuneful and lyrical, at others jaunty and dance-like and at still others almost mournful and melancholy, these brief works run the gamut of expression. Yet, there is a serenity to all of them that makes for engaging listening. Augustin Hadelich, who in 2006 took the gold medal at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis plays with deft ease. Although he is playing on a modern steel-stringed instrument, he manages to produce a light, even airy tone that is not overwrought with vibrato and romantic shellac. It takes a real master to bring out all of the grace in what to him must be fairly simple music to play, but Mr. Hadelich never condescends. Each piece is delivered with commitment.

Hadelich’s handling of the faster movements is worth particular mention. Although Telemann only hints at polyphonic textures, Mr Hadelich connects the lines in such a way that we definitely get the illusion of more than one voice. His attention to melodic shape is most evident in the slower movements, particularly those cast in the minor mode. He sings with his instrument, breathing in all the right places and balancing tension and release to perfection. This is lyrical music-making of the first order, and although the works themselves are less than completely profound, they are so well crafted as to be satisfying for player and listener alike.

Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, April 2009

Augustin Hadelich’s playing goes far beyond merely competent, making everything sound easy and natural without ever being trivial. The short, slow chordal passages could perhaps be embellished more—comparison with the solo Asseggai of Telemann’s Swedish contemporary Johan Helmich Roman would certainly suggest this—but Hadelich’s ornamentation is clean and unobtrusive.

These are not the Bach solo works in any respect, leaning more towards Corelli than to Telemann’s German contemporary, but they still have much to recommend them.

Recorded in Newmarket by the regular Naxos team of Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver the sound quality is, as always, impeccable.

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, April 2009

I've been acquainted with Telemann's fantasias for flute/recorder for a long time: fine examples of melodic and technically demanding little works. The fantasias for violin, though, are considerably weightier, not necessarily in length or format, but by being able to convey emotion and depth. Augustin Hadelich in this case does not miss an opportunity to indulge in that aspect of the music, turning in stellar and richly inspired performances, captured in wonderfully warm acoustics.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2009

George Philipp Telemann was one of the most prolific composers of the early 18th century and more famous in his lifetime than Johann Sebastian Bach. His style of composition did move with the times, though his Twelve Fantasies for Solo Violin were written with an eye to the amateur or student market and were not representative of his output at the time of composition in 1735. Each Fantasia is in several contrasting movements, many being in dance rhythm, and make much use of double and triple stopping to add weight to the texture. It has a passing similarity to Bach’s unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas, though without the same level of pungency. They are played by the winner of the 2006 Indianapolis International Violin Competition, Augustin Hadelich, an Italian violinist of German parentage who has already made a most desirable disc for Naxos of Haydn’s Violin Concertos [8.570483]. With a formidable technique he introduces a virtuoso element, often by highlighting dynamic contrasts. It is a view that looks backwards from the 21st century, the tone often warmed by vibrato, the shape of movements arrived at from one versed in modern traditions. If you compare it with recordings using a Baroque violin, you will there discover Telemann’s biting astringency, though I guess most listeners will be happy with Hadelich. Sample track 8 to tell you everything about the disc, including the excitement of Hadelich’s central ‘spirituoso’ section.  The recording from Naxos’s familiar Canadian team places him in a nice church acoustic.

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